Nutritional supplements are plentiful in the local vitamin store and which one is best for you will vary depending on age, medical condition and dietary habits. Lutein is a water soluble carotenoid that possesses anti-oxidant properties. Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) patients are particularly helped by the intake of additional anti-oxidants like Lutein. It is ingested orally and reached the target organs like the retina via the blood stream. The immediate benefit of Lutein is seen in the increase of macular pigment optical density. This improves visual function.
In addition, Lutein aids in the absorption of high energy, short wavelength light that has been shown to act as a catalyst to Macular Degeneration and cataracts. Since both the retina and the crystalline lens are vulnerable to oxidative damage, Lutein an anti-oxidant, is of particular benefit in preserving these structures and thus maintaining better ocular health and vision. The two foods that have the highest quantity of Lutein in them are spinach and kale.
Individuals who have deficiencies in the amount of macular pigment are especially helped by Lutein supplements. Patients with poor dietary habits are likewise encouraged to take Lutein. Visual function is improved rapidly upon consumption depending on the blood level of Lutein. Furthermore, since filtering high energy blue light increases contrast sensitivity, one can also expect an improvement there with additional levels of Lutein.
In short, young healthy individuals who eat well will probably not see many benefits with Lutein supplements. Since it is water soluble excess amounts will be excreted so there is no harm to taking extra amount. In patients who suffer from ARMD, cataracts and other ocular conditions who are older and eat poorly, Lutein supplements are of particular benefit. As always, consult your physician when taking any medications and supplements.
About The Author
This article is written by Dr. Jay Stockman, contributing author to VisionUpdate.net. Dr. Jay Stockman, with his partner Dr. Brian Lewy have co-managed a significant number of refractive surgery patients. Advise, and medical questions can be directed to New York Vision Associates